Opportunities

NEW OPPORTUNITIES!

New PhD vacancy at University College Cork!

Applications are invited for a four-year PhD researcher position investigating the taphonomy of vertebrate melanin. The position is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and forms part of a series of new hires in palaeontology at UCC.

The project

The successful candidate will undertake analysis of extant and fossil melanin and melanosomes, plus taphonomic experiments using in-house facilities for laboratory decay and high pressure-high temperature maturation. Key analytical techniques include SEM, AHPO-LCMS, Synchrotron-XRF, STEM, STXM. In addition to research, the successful candidate will have opportunities to undertake training in transferable skills, to gain experience in mentorship, and to participate in fieldwork. The successful candidate will work closely with the PI and other members of the team, especially a postdoctoral researcher also working on the taphonomy of melanin.

The School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES)

The School of BEES at University College Cork (UCC) is one of the most successful Schools in UCC in terms of grant capture and PhD completion, and has the distinction of having four ERC-funded projects in the last five years. It is located in three interconnected buildings on extensive grounds and comprises 30 academic staff, 20 postdoctoral researchers and >100 postgraduate students supported by 14 administrative and technical staff. The successful candidate will benefit from excellent laboratory facilities, including a dedicated palaeontology laboratory with high-spec facilities for experimental decay and maturation, melanin extraction, and tissue preparation for electron microscopy. The School’s new Mary Ward microbeam laboratory houses a new JEOL IT-100 VP SEM with sputter coater, a Perkin-Elmer Frontier uATR coupled to a Spotlight micro-FTIR, a Renishaw Raman microscope, extensive light microscopy facilities, and an ultramicrotome. Planned analytical facilities include a major new investment in a hyphenated headspace analyser-GC-MS facility for chemical analyses of maturation experiments in real time. Additional laboratory facilities include a furnace, dedicated histology lab, and photography facilities. Researchers in the palaeobiology group have access to additional analytical facilities elsewhere in the university, including cryotomy and immunofluorescence imaging.

The successful candidate will join us at a very exciting time, as part of a major expansion of the palaeontology group at UCC. This includes new PhD and postdoctoral researchers, research support officer, outreach officer, and a new lecturer in palaeontology. The successful candidate will benefit from the PI’s commitment to his/her career development and the PI’s extensive global network of collaborators.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

The primary focus of the PhD Researcher will be research however a particular emphasis during this stage should include;

  • To conduct a specified programme of research under the supervision and direction of a Principal Investigator/Project Leader.
  • To engage in appropriate training and professional development opportunities as required by the Principal Investigator, School or College in order to develop research skills and competencies.
  • To engage in the dissemination of the results of the research in which they are engaged, as directed by, with the support of and under the supervision of a Principal Investigator.
  • To become familiar with the publication process.
  • To acquire generic and transferable skills (including project management, business skills and postgraduate mentoring/supervision).
  • To engage in the wider research and scholarly activities of the research group, School or College.

Essential Criteria

The successful candidate will provide a cover letter demonstrating evidence that they meet the following essential criteria:

  • A 2:1 or 1:1 BSc or MSc in Geology, Zoology or Palaeontology.
  • Good laboratory skills.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Funding: stipend of €18,500 per annum, EU fees are covered.

Duration: 4 years

Starting date: TBA

Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time

Informal inquiries can be made in confidence to Prof. Maria McNamara, Professor of Palaeontology, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Email: maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie.

To Apply:

Candidates should apply, in confidence, by submitting a CV (including contact details of two referees) and cover letter to maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie before 5 pm (Irish Local Time) on Friday, 8th October 2021.

UCC is committed to creating and fully embracing an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated. As a University we strive to create a workplace that reflects the diversity of our student population where people from a wide variety of backgrounds learn from one another, share ideas, and work collaboratively. UCC is committed to being an employer that recognises the value of diversity amongst its staff. We encourage applicants to consult our policies at https://www.ucc.ie/en/edi/policies/ and initiatives at https://www.ucc.ie/en/edi/implementation/ and we welcome applications from everyone, including those who are underrepresented in the protected characteristics set out in our Equal Opportunities & Diversity Policy.

University College Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer


Irish Research Council Government of Ireland postdoctoral scholarship programme call open 2nd September.

Innovative and interdisciplinary research proposals are encouraged.

A salary, PRSI contribution and funds for expenses are included. Please see here for more information on the application process.

If you are interested in applying and would like to have University College Cork as your host institution, please get in touch (maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie). Please note the applicant deadline for the call is 16:00 Irish time on 21st October 2021.


Irish Research Council Government of Ireland postgraduate scholarship programme call open 2nd September.

Innovative and interdisciplinary research proposals are encouraged.

A stipend, fee contribution and funds for expenses are included. Please see here for more information on the application process.

If you are interested in applying and would like to have University College Cork as your host institution, please get in touch (maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie). Please note the applicant deadline for the call is 16:00 Irish time on 21st October 2021.


Royal Society – Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellowship call now open.

This excellent funding opportunity is available to researchers based in the Republic of Ireland. The research must be within the natural sciences, including (but not limited to): biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

The fellowships are expected to start in October 2022 and are initially funded for 5 years, and can be renewed for a further 3 years subject to review. The award includes salary, research expenses and overhead contributions to the host research institution. Please see here for more information.

If you are interested in applying and would like to come to Cork, please reach out to us (maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie). Note the call closing date and supporting documentation deadline is 15:00 UK time on 28th of September 2021, BUT all applications should be started on Flexi-Grant® prior to 15:00 UK time on 7th of September 2021.


Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship call now open.

This is a fantastic funding opportunity for experienced researchers in any field of research!

Projects are funded for 1-2 years (European postdoctoral fellowship) or 2-3 years (global postdoctoral fellowship). Please see here for more information on the application process.

If you are interested in applying and would like to have University College Cork as your host institution, please get in touch (maria.mcnamara@ucc.ie). Please note the deadline for the call is 17:00 Brussels time on 12th October 2021.

Interested in joining the team in Cork and doing research on soft tissue taphonomy of fossils, taphonomic experiments, or fossil colour?

You can apply for funding via several sources:

Postdoctoral funding

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship

Royal Society Fellowships

Maria-Sklowdowska Curie Individual Postdoctoral Fellowships

PhD funding

Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Fellowship

MRes opportunities

The MRes in Geological Sciences is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Applications will be accepted for a start date in October or January. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis and (b) taught modules on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills.

Prospective students interested in carrying out a palaeontology-based MRes are advised to contact Prof. Maria McNamara and the Programme Coordinator (Prof. Andy Wheeler: a.wheeler@ucc.ie). For further information see https://www.ucc.ie/en/bees/courses/postgrad/.